Ever since MegaUpload was taken down over piracy concerns, the data on the MegaUpload servers has been inaccessible. In the intervening times, there have been several scares about whether or not the data would just be deleted; so far total deletion has been narrowly avoided. The MPAA, who wants to keep the data around for lawsuit purposes, has come out and said it would be okay with giving users access, just so long as it can be guaranteed that literally no infringing files are recovered. It’s a condition that’s as impossible as it is frivlous.
The MPAA’s lawyers have put it this way, referencing in particular a Mr. Godwin, whose troubles have been publicized:
There are really two problems with this line of reasoning. The first is the assumption that making the distinction between infringing files and non-infringing files is even possible. Granted, it’s very possible that the MPAA is aware this is the case, and is presenting a scenario they know to be practically impossible as something of a false compromise.
The second problem with this condition is that it makes almost no sense whatsoever. The main reason users are so concerned about retrieving data from MegaUpload is that they don’t have backups, the data is unique. If the data is deleted, these files are lost for good. Infringing files are duplicates by their very nature. No one is going to need to get onto the MegaUpload server to get their illegal copy of Iron Man 2; they can just get a new one from any number of other sources.
This is yet another case where rightsholders are opting to deprive users of something (access to personal files) rather than allow the possible duplication of copyrighted files, which is not necessarily depriving anyone of anything. Ultimately, it seems that this will be the courts decisions, and maybe they can see through the MPAA’s flawed logic. Hopefully they will; it’d be a shame to see unique data lost in vain.